• 250 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • Price: $35.95
  • EAN: 9781439911907
  • Publication: Jul 2015
  • Price: $90.50
  • EAN: 9781439911891
  • Publication: Jul 2015
  • Price: $35.95
  • EAN: 9781439911914
  • Publication: Jul 2015

Imagined Liberation

Xenophobia, Citizenship, and Identity in South Africa, Germany, and Canada

Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley

On a spectrum of hostility towards migrants, South Africa ranks at the top, Germany in the middle and Canada at the bottom. South African xenophobic violence by impoverished slum dwellers is directed against fellow Africans. “Foreign” Africans are blamed for a high crime rate and most other maladies of an imagined liberation. Why would a society that liberated itself in the name of human rights turn against people who escaped human rights violations or unlivable conditions at home? What happened to the expected African solidarity? Why do former victims become victimizers? With porous borders, South Africa is incapable of upholding the blurred distinction between endangered refugees and economic migrants. Imagined Liberation asks what xenophobic societies can learn from other immigrant societies, such as Canada, that avoided the backlash against multiculturalism in Europe. Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley stress an innovative teaching of political literacy that makes citizens aware as to why they hate.


"Adam and Moodley are exceptionally well equipped and also well placed to undertake the study on xenophobia. This book is novel because it focuses on xenophobia in the South African townships. Imagined Liberation makes a major contribution by summarizing and synthesizing the current literature in the West and by exploring the relevance of these perspectives to South Africa. The insightful analyses of the issues of xenophobia and immigrant policy in Canada and Germany spell out how a better understanding of the problem in South Africa could enhance the general understanding of it."Hermann Giliomee, Professor Emeritus of Political Studies, University of Cape Town

"Imagined Liberation is an in-depth analysis of all that ails contemporary South Africa by two world-famous authors. This book is further enriched by their autobiographical statements which put their work into vivid perspective and provides both an insider's and an outsider's view of recent developments. Adam and Moodley put South Africa in a comparative context with other multiethnic societies, emphasizing both similarities and differences, and avoiding the pitfalls of both provincialism and historicism. Imagined Liberation provides critical, insightful, anguished, and yet unjaundiced and remarkably accurate, objective, and realistic assessment of South Africa's decline into massive corruption, inefficiency, police brutality, and moral bankruptcy by stressing the persistent, indeed widening, inequality by race and class which lies at the root of most current problems." —Pierre van den Berghe, Emeritus Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington

"(A) highly complex and articulate theory of xenophobia that has many echoes for internal migration within the European Union and for displaced international migration by 'illegals' generally.... Imagined Liberation is to be welcomed...as an impassioned, heartfelt plea to complete the liberation dream in South Africa, to end hatred of the marginalized stranger in all societies, and to build policies everywhere to promote multiculturalism and respect for human dignity. And I could not agree with (the authors) more on that." Ethnic and Racial Studies

"Imagined Liberation provides insight into an important case study that not only interrogates the cause of xenophobia but also provides interesting alternatives to consider in thinking about how to combat this increasingly prevalent social problem...it contributes a unique qualitative and psychological understanding to a field of study that lacks meaningful work from this perspective and is typically dominated by discussions around the social, economic, and political arenas. What is intriguing and impressive about this work is that it does not ignore these arenas, but instead seriously considers them in the case of South Africa while providing a new dimension of understanding that leads to new and interesting alternatives and suggestions."
International Journal of Comparative Sociology

About the Author(s)

Heribert Adam is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Educated at the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, he has published extensively on comparative ethnic conflicts and peacemaking, particularly socio-political developments in South Africa. He was awarded the 1998 Konrad Adenauer Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the co-author of Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking Between Israelis and Palestinians (Temple).

Kogila Moodley is Professor Emerita, Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, where she was the first holder of the David Lam Chair. Raised in the Indian community of apartheid South Africa, her research is focused on critical multiculturalism, anti-racism education and citizenship. She has served as President of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Racism, Nationalism, and Ethnic Relations. She is the co-author of Seeking Mandela.

In the Series

Politics, History, and Social Change

This series, edited by John C. Torpey, will disseminate serious works that analyze the social changes that have transformed our world during the twentieth century and beyond. The main topics to be addressed include international migration; human rights; the political uses of history; the past and future of the nation-state; decolonization and the legacy of imperialism; and global inequality. The series will also translate into English outstanding works by scholars writing in other languages.